Battery Life in Samsung Galaxy S5 and Ultra Power Saving Mode Explained
Battery life is a constant challenge with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. While every manufacturer frequently quotes optimistic battery times, rarely if ever does the reality live up to the battery life suggested. A power bank to charge a device when away from a power supply has almost become a requirement for most phone and tablet users.
One of the reasons for the discrepancy is that each user treats their phone or tablet differently. For some people, only maximum brightness will do. Others use their Wi-Fi access constantly and drain the battery using the Wi-Fi radio. The behavior of each user is different and so their experience of battery life tends to vary long with it.
Ultra Power Saving Mode with Samsung Galaxy S5
The new Samsung Galaxy S5 flagship phone comes with both Power Saving and Ultra Power Saving modes. The Ultra Power Saving mode is a new feature which aims to provide a limited user experience in order to control how many hours of use can be achieved with the remaining battery life.
Both Power Saving Mode and Ultra Power Saving Mode can be selected from the Settings drop-down menu. When the Ultra Power Saving mode is selected (which displays in the Settings as U. Power Saving) the phone will switch to this mode.
The switching process is not actually quick. It can take a good 10 seconds until the mode is fully switched across. Switching back to TouchWiz is easy enough and also takes about the same amount of time back to return to the colorful interface.
The UI is extremely simplified. Grayscale colors are used instead of the usual overly-saturated colors on the Samsung AMOLED screen. The battery percentage and expected days of use are shown. The three starting apps, Phone, Messages and Internet, get their own simple icons too.
By clicking on one of the plus logos, it's possible to run through a list of apps that can be added. This list is quite restrictive. It includes Calender, ChatON, Clock, Google+, Memo and Voice Recorder. No Facebook, Twitter or Angry Birds apps here.
Connectivity is restricted in Ultra Power Saving mode. Mobile data like 3G or 4G LTE, Wi-Fi access and Bluetooth are all turned off.
It is possible to manually turn on services like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for times when these extras are needed without it being necessary to jump back to TouchWiz to accomplish this. Therefore, there is some flexibility with what can be achieved when being ultra conservative with battery power.
Impressive Battery Life
Samsung suggests at least 10 hours of web browsing and 11 hours of grayscale video can be enjoyed while using their frugal battery mode.
Unlike with other estimates, when not overriding the default settings by boosting the brightness, increasing the sound volume or running too many of the apps at once, users are likely to actually get pretty close to the estimates.
The flip-side is that the list of available apps is minimal, the display loses its AMOLED gloss, and adding connectivity lowers the number of hours that the S5 can stay alive. Still, it's a nice addition to have for times when the user needs the phone to stay alive even if they have to accept far less functionality to achieve that.